I loved the first Arthur movie with Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli. It was 1981, and the first time my father and I watched a movie together. We laughed. Snorted. And created our own roster of private jokes based on the exchanges between Arthur (Dudley Moore) and his very stoic butler, Hobson (John Geilgud). Needless to say, the film holds a special place for me, and when I heard it was being remade, I shuddered. Why mess with a good thing?
Turns out my instincts were correct. The remake, starring Russell Brand in the title role and Helen Mirren as the butler turned nanny, is…meh. It’s okay. There is undeniably chemistry between Brand and Mirren. And the script is adequately adapted to present day. But it suffers greatly from the customary dumbing down the audience slap stick that studio execs insist make movies better. The added silliness fails. It’s out of place and forced. Where the original movie succeeded in the storytelling of a child-man refusing to grow up until the unexpected meeting of his dream girl, the remake misses the mark entirely. It has none of the original heart.
Brand and Mirren have their moments – just not enough. See the original.